Futsal is back at this year’s Hispanic Festival in downtown Grand Rapids, and it’s bigger than ever. In futsal, a modified form of soccer, the field is smaller and the action is faster. Due to its popularity last year, the second annual Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network 3-on-3 Futsal Tournament has expanded. Instead of two Ottawa Avenue courts, the tournament will take up three and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 12 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 13 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teams can register here. “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are delighted to again partner with the Hispanic Festival on this wonderful health and fitness event that involves many children from the Grand Rapids community,” said eMily Aleman-McAlpine, senior community liaison for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Last year, more than 150 young athletes competed in tournament play. With the expansion of the event to Sunday this year, close to 300 athletes between the ages of eight and 18 will get a chance to participate, competing for top trophies and demonstrating that physical activity can be fun.” In addition to an expanded futsal tournament, the entire Hispanic Festival has grown from two to three days, kicking off on Friday, Sept. 11. Celebrating 38 consecutive years in 2015, the Hispanic Festival is recognized as the largest ethnic festival in Grand Rapids and one of the largest festivals of its kind in the state.
“The Hispanic Festival features free and diverse stage entertainment, authentic food and beverage options, and activities that celebrate our Latin American heritage,” said Roberto Torres, Executive Director, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. “In addition, the event is the largest fundraiser for the nonprofit Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. The Center utilizes money raised through the Festival for underwriting educational programming leading toward self-sufficiency and building stronger communities by investing in families, adults and children.” The Hispanic Festival is free and open to the public with activities, food/beverage tents and stage entertainment available Friday, Sept. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. with futsal and limited food/beverage options beginning at 8 a.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 13 from noon to 5 p.m.; with futsal and limited food/beverage options beginning at 8 a.m. More information is available on the Hispanic Center’s website. Do you attend the Hispanic Festival? What's your favorite part - the entertainment, the food, the futsal? Share with us in the comments. If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
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Photo credit: Julie Bitely